If there was ever a contentious issue to split motorists right down the middle, this is it.  

In a highly controversial move, a leading think tank in the United Kingdom has labelled the longstanding MOT ‘outdated’ and ‘unnecessary’. Costing British drivers somewhere in the region of £250 million every year, MOT tests have also been labelled a ‘rip-off’ by the Adam Smith Institute.

In turn, the organisation is now lobbying the government to abandon the traditional MOT altogether, having accused it of being a “classic case of poor policy”. Rather than focusing on potential vehicle faults, the institute would prefer to see the government “bring itself into the 21st century and focus on driver error.”

Driver error being responsible for the overwhelming majority of accidents on the roads – vehicle faults accounting for comparatively few.

According to those behind the report, the elimination of the MOT would save motorists on average around £180 per year. The reason the MOT exists is to ensure that all vehicles on UK roads are safe to pilot and unlikely to suffer any dangerous mechanical failure. Nevertheless, this particular think tank firmly believes that the MOT makes little to no difference whatsoever.

“There’s no evidence that vehicle safety inspections improve vehicle safety,” commented Alex Hoagland, the author of the report.

Along with completely eliminating the traditional MOT, the report suggests introducing an alternative test that would apply exclusively to vehicles at least five years old, which would be a subject for testing every three years.  Interestingly, the organisation also stated that the government should be investing more heavily in driverless car technology.

“MOT tests are meant to prevent crashes and save lives, but they’ve never been put to the test themselves,” the report continued.

Unsurprisingly, not everyone agreed with the proposals submitted by the Adam Smith Institute. A handful of leading authorities having accepted that while the current MOT system is far from perfect, to eliminate it entirely would be a dangerous and harmful move. 

 “Scrapping the MOT would be a huge backward step and a recipe for disaster,” argued RAC roads policy spokesman Nicholas Lyes.

“It would mean drivers would no longer have to do anything routinely to check their vehicles are safe which could lead to huge numbers of vehicles being driven that pose a danger to all road users. We can’t imagine this would have any support from the UK public,” 

“More than a third of all cars and vans taken in for an MOT each year initially fail, so clearly the test is picking up some problems that need addressing that might otherwise make a vehicle unsafe. And while road accidents caused by mechanical failures might be low, how much of this is as a result of the MOT test existing?”

“We accept the MOT test isn’t perfect, but we’re far better to have it than not. In fact, we would like to see it reviewed more regularly and believe there is an argument to base it not just on vehicle age, but also on the number of miles it has been driven.”

“The Government will also have no appetite for looking at the MOT again so soon after making changes to it this year, which included widening its scope in some areas.”